I am not an admirer of Marc Chagall. I am even one of those art lovers that does not like Chagall at all. Except there were 2 occasions i was impressed with Chagall. I remember the first time i went to the Fondation Maeght where ” La Vie ” was on display.
This painting had everything in it. Color, abstraction, symbolism and its size made it an overwhelming experience. The second time was in France too. I visited the Reims cathedral where the glass stained windows were designed by Chagall. In this religious setting everything came together again. Like the experience in Vence i had the same experience in Rheims…an overwhelming sence of piece and joy and realisation that life is great and beautiful. On the Maeght site i found this story on Chagall and for any publications on Chagall visit www.ftn-books.com
Painter born, Moïche Zakharovitch Chagalov, 7 July, 1887 near Vitebsk, in Belarus (then part of the Russian Empire), acquired French nationality in 1937 and died 28 March, 1985 in St. Paul de Vence.
Aimé Maeght met Marc Chagall for the first time in October 1947 at the opening of his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris organized by Jean Cassou to promote and celebrate the return of the painter after years of exile in the United States.
“Ida Chagall took me to her father’s house, and in the studio I was amazed when I discovered the gouaches painted in the United States and Mexico, sixty superb works that I had the chance to bring to rue de Téhéran. We all stopped the project for the first exhibition at the gallery. This meeting marked the beginning of our close and confident collaboration and a loyal friendship.” explained Aimé Maeght. This exhibition was held in March 1950. It was also the year that Chagall came to live in Vence near Saint-Paul.
When Marguerite and Aimé Maeght created the Foundation, they asked Chagall for a large painting for the room to be dedicated to him. The artist created La Vie (1964, oil on canvas, 296 x 406 cm), a large swirling composition where real-life events and dreams that had always lived within the painter come together : the rabbi grandfather, the marriage to Bella, the birth of Ida, the two exiles, the one from Russia by horse and the one to America by boat, musicians, acrobats and dancers, Paris all in blue and at the end of the path, the painter with the palette that appears to contemplate this epic that is larger than the adventure of one man. Above him, embracing him in her arms, is Vava his companion, the beneficial ally, who seems to be born of his painting to soothe the anxiety and torment of the creator.